DSDAC’s Meghan Ryan crosses the line for gold in Raheny. Picture: Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile

The end of a long hard winter of distance running ended on Sunday in sunny Raheny at the National Road Relays with Dundrum South Dublin women and men’s races ending in glory.

They took gold in the women’s race and silver in the men’s competition at an event where all of the top clubs in the country were present for this seasonal finale.

Marathon Olympian Linda Byrne ran the first leg over one mile in the women’s race and although below the distance she normally runs, she came in a close second to North Down, with favorites, UCD, back in third.

Fiona Clinton took off strongly on the second leg of two miles and retained her position, with UCD slipping backwards. Meghan Ryan took over next and ran a scintillating last leg, as she caught the leader and produced a great sprint to the finish line to ensure DSD of the gold medals, with North Down second
and Dublin City Harriers third.

The men’s race consisted of four athletes, with defending champions Raheny Shamrocks going for three in a row at their home venue.

This turned out the most exciting race of the day, as Raheny, Kilkenny City Harriers and DSD went head to head from the gun.

Joe Sweeney was first up for DSD, returning from a long absence from competition after his great fourth place in the European cross country championships a few years ago.

He showed he had not lost his competitive streak as he fought his way to the change over in third place of 25 teams.

Just out of Junior (U-20), Paul O’Donnell was next up and showed he will soon be a force at senior level as he moved into second place.

Next came the real drama of the race as Hiko Tonosa took off 150m behind Mick Clohisey, Raheny’s national cross country champion, and to the consternation of Raheny caught him close home to give DSD, a four-second lead going into the last leg.

Try as he might, John Eves, could not contain the in form Conor Dooney, as he brought Raheny home for three in a row, with DSD second and Kilkenny third.

DSD’s second team finished seventh of the 25 finishing teams. This was a very young team of Patrick MacGabhann (21), Aaron Donnelly (18), Brian Maguire (17) and Mark Molloy (21), which makes the future of DSD very secure.